Flowers for the Bride

– Posted in: Garden Photography

Annie's wedding flowers

Weddings and old fashioned flowers seem to go hand in hand.  So it is a wonderful new trend in the floral industry that local flower farmers are now being sought out as an alternative to commercial greenhouse and imported flowers.

Even more cool, my daughter Annie found a local farmer in Virginia for her own country wedding.


Lisa Ziegler's flower farm

Old fashioned larkspur at Lisa Ziegler’s flower farm.

Ever since Amy Stewart made us aware of the global nature of flower industry in her book Flower Confidential, local flower farmers have started to crack the floral trade, getting beyond the farm stand to the florists.  Debra Prinzing and David Perry produced The 50 Mile Bouquet, a marvelous book profiling flower farmers on the West Coast and Debra has followed up that book with Slow Flowers and the slowflowers website to match consumers with local farmers.

The farmer Annie found in Virginia is Lisa Ziegler who farms in my old home town of Newport News.  Lisa has been flower farming for 15 years with her business Gardener’s Workshop.  I had no idea my old home town was so au courant.

Lisa Ziegler harvesting peonies

Lisa Ziegler harvesting peonies on her farm

Even more amazing, Lisa has her own book Cool Flowers coming out this September.  Is this a match made in heaven ? A garden photographer whose daughter found an expert in local grown flowers ?

Besides being a tireless worker, Lisa is a smart business woman so she graciously allowed me to photograph her farm, and my daughter laughingly allowed me to be the flower photographer for the wedding.

Lisa does not do weddings and is not a florist, so I need to make this disclosure, but once a week she does open the farm to locals who can buy farm shares and purchase flowers by the stem, which is what we did.

seelcting flowers at gardener's workshop

After buying three huge buckets of flowers – larkspur, batchelor buttons, snapdragons, peonies, and bupleroma for filler, Annie, her friend Hanna, and Evie (my other daughter) set to making 20 mason jar bouquets.  It was a country wedding but the mason jars did not have to do double duty for the beer.

Annie preparing wedding bouquets


Fresh local flowers in mason jar bouquets on Annie's wedding day

I don’t know how the bride stayed so (seemingly) calm throughout the whole wedding process, perhaps because both she and her fiancée are in theater and know the pitfalls of staging.  Maybe because she was happy.  Flower will do that . . .

An old fashioned princess bride and her old fashioned flowers.

Annie - princess bride


Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at
Saxon Holt

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ks June 10, 2014, 10:49 pm

Your daughter is lovely Saxon, and her wedding flora is wonderful. My son is also in the theater; theater people are particularly splendid. I have hopes that local flower farmers will prevail-I lived in San Diego in the 70’s and flower farms were all over the place. Those were the days. Baseball was good then too.

Saxon Holt June 10, 2014, 11:02 pm

Southern California is still blessed with local flower farms but they are so blessed they grew to gargantuan size and don’t do many of the charming old fashioned flowers that don’t ship well across the country. So the small farmer have a window of customers who mot only want grandma’s flowers, they want to support a local farmer.

What’s this about baseball being better back when ? 😉 Go Giants !

John Rusk June 11, 2014, 7:45 am

Educational and interesting: a great approach to a wedding story. Congratulations to Annie and her husband.

Saxon Holt June 11, 2014, 8:39 pm

Thanks for dropping by John. I hope to expand the story greatly once Lisa’s book ‘Cool Flowers’comes out. She is the one who can teach gardeners how easy it is to grow hardy annuals.

Debby June 11, 2014, 9:28 pm

Wonderful images, Saxon! and congratulations on your daughter’s wedding! She looked beautiful!

Debbiecz June 17, 2014, 6:41 am

My brothers greenhouse, Andrews, in Amherst MA has been selling cut flowers by the pound for years. From (wise) husbands stopping by for a bouquet on the way home to brides searching for the perfect bloom, everyone enjoys strolling the rows of flowers.

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